Mid-Ohio Weekend Notebook
Six events and 12 races have come and gone. Chris Miller is 2009 F2000 Championship Series champion. Miller underscored his title season by dominating the season finale, and passing Remy Audette for the win – not to mention going side by side with Audette through the first few corners of the opening lap of round 12. Miller showed the true mark of his championship with a crushing victory. Not to mention starting from pole and setting fast lap along the way.
The F2000 bunch hosted a very well-attended Sunday night party for the series at the Road House, a traditional Mid-Ohio hang-out for racers. Trophies and checks were presented by series partners Bob Wright and Michael Rand. Mike Eakin (Purple Frog) MC’ed the party, which lasted well into the night.
Notably, Ben Searcy took the first F2000 Rookie of the Year award. Tom Fatur wrapped up the Masters Class championship by a hair over Tim Minor. Chris Gumprect received a special mention as he continues to pick up speed and explore the limits of the #97.
A group of ladies also received special mention for exploring the limits of various golf-carts on the Mid-Ohio skidpad.
And, as one series official put it, there should have “a specific award for fastest Summit Point rain practice lap” for Mr. Miller.
The long-standing dispute between Audette Racing and the F2000 staff regarding a set of wigs and the series scale pads was finally settled in a calm fashion.
After pacing testing and practice and winning the first race, Ben Searcy had to hang on to finish tenth in the last round of the season at Mid-Ohio. Searcy started fourth and many though he was going to find a way to the front and take the win.
Post-race data downloads from the Z-Sports team show Searcy’s car some 5mph off teammate Caitlin Johnston down the back straight. With the same exact aero setup as Johnston, the team believes the engine decided it was the start of the end.
Qualifying – The Chris Miller Show?
Mid-Ohio showed us that qualifying over the course of the year had become the Chris Miller show. As the #85 took poles for both races, making it four straight and seven on the 12 race season.
Better yet, it seems to happen in the same fashion. Throughout most of the session Miller hangs out in the top five, keeping a low profile. As the minutes wind down and the order changes, he is usually there, but not always on top. And then, almost always, on the last lap he is able to throw down a flyer and steal pole.
Chris Miller’s seven poles and four wins are impressive. But Matthew Inge set the highest number of fast race laps, four in total. Searcy was a close second to Miller with three wins.
Impressively, no one was able to sweep a weekend by winning both races, showcasing the competitiveness of the F2000 paddock.
How about the number of different winners? Twelve races produced six different winners, including Benjamin Searcy (3), Remy Audette (1), Tim Minor (1), Phil Lombardi (1), Matthew Inge (2) and Chris Miller(3).
Audette takes qualifying lap records at VIR and Lime Rock, Inge takes the Watkins Glen lap record and Chris Miller is now in the books as F2000 lap record holder at Summit Point and Mid-Ohio.
Wing of the Month Club
The wing of the month club did not have any new trick pieces on hand at Mid-Ohio. But, it appears they were busy planning a field trip instead – and maybe something like a new car. On Tuesday August 18th, the club will be spending a full six hours in a wind tunnel in North Carolina.
With the absence of the aero stuff the hot new piece to have in the paddock was the Van Diemen engine brace. The brace, developed by F2000 competitor Tim Minor and engineer Larry Kropp, was reproduced by another manufacturer. In total another five cars had it at Mid-Ohio, with many more planning to acquire it, and another team potentially looking at making their own version.
As the offseason starts, many teams have plans to go testing this fall. Z-Sports, Group A and ADSA/Wright are already planning. There are rumors of a few new teams circulating as well.
Stay tuned for www.F2000ChampionshipSeries.com for the latest series and team news, including all announcements throughout the offseason. And maybe a few driver blogs too.